Health Center News

Storytelling The Mission: A Necessity for Nonprofits

R NapolitanoOur guest blog post today is by Rich Napolitano, Senior Vice President, External Relations/Chief Marketing & Development Officer, at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center.  This post was originally published on LinkedIn. 

I recently attended a conference of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) in Washington, DC.  During the annual conference in our nation’s capital, a lot of time was spent on advocacy — advocating on behalf of Community Health Centers and supporting the work they do throughout the country.  The educational sessions on advocacy work were informative and extremely helpful in providing a blueprint for future success at my health center.

What was most apparent though was the strengthening of my belief that storytelling your organization’s mission is vital to ensuring future patient, donor, and community engagement, and ultimately continued success in providing the comprehensive, quality health care for so many patients in our region.  Of course, it’s always  important to know your nonprofit organization’s mission statement, and most can recite theirs verbatim, but how many can tell a story that will depict what the mission is and what it means to the community?

At Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, we need to paint a picture that clearly describes what our Community Health Center does – each and every day. Why? Because like many nonprofits our health center is more than just “seeing a doctor.”  So being able to recite that mission is not enough and quite frankly, I believe that every employee should be able to do this – not just the Marketing and Development folks.

An example of storytelling our mission is our weekly Access Points social media feature which is focused on increasing patient access and complementing the National Association of Community Health Centers’ #AccessistheAnswer national advocacy campaign.   Access Points tell a quick story, illustrating access to care in a way that most might not realize is happening at our health center.  We have been highlighting these Access Points for about two months now and the feedback has been tremendous.

Here is a recent Access Point posting on removing barriers to care through GLFHC’s school-based health centers. 

So now we are on our own mission of gathering stories to tell – stories to share with others via social media and our website, public gatherings or even just in conversations with others.  Being able to tell the story makes it real and I am now convinced will be one of our most useful arrows in our quiver when it comes to strengthening our brand and engaging more people – patients, community leaders, and donors alike.